The next critical date for the future of Ace Hardware appears to be this Tuesday.
The Sammamish City Council should receive a staff report on efforts between the City Attorney and Ace’s attorney to reach a Developer’s Agreement to build on environmentally constrained land between Washington Federal and the Mars Hill Church.
Whether an agreement is reached or not–and I’m not optimistic that legal differences of opinion will be bridged–required permit reviews at the state and federal level simply can’t be done by Ace’s March 1 deadline to break ground.
This week will be critical.
Meantime, I have confirmed that Trader Joe’s will be the new occupant of the Ace Hardware space in the Sammamish Highlands shopping center.
Begin forwarded message:
From: “Cyrus Oskoui”
Date: January 15, 2013, 4:33:04 PM PST
To: “Tom Odell” , “Don Gerend” , “John Curley” , “Ramiro Valderrama-Aramayo” , “Tom Vance” , “Nancy Whitten” , “John James”
Subject: Have you considered all your options?
Dear Sammamish City Council Members
As an operator of Athletic Clubs since 1981 including 2 facilities on the Sammamish Plateau, I am confident in saying that I have a strong knowledge and understanding of the industry. Having supported the Plateau area for over 17 years, I am puzzled why my business was not permitted to bid on this project. In fact, I am even more confused why the City Council refuses to put the operations of this facility out to bid. How is this even remotely in the best interests of the citizens you represent? If the City wants to save millions of dollars, and get a return on their investment, I would highly encourage you to sit down and negotiate in good faith with my company. I am more than happy to discuss scholarships and other services that you believe transform a health club into a community center.
First of all you are designing a health club and not a community center. A community center is what City of Mercer Island has built few years ago for $14,000,000. If you proceed ahead as planned, I am certain that building such an enormous facility will force my two health clubs in Sammamish out of business. The City will loose tax revenues, 200 employees will loose their jobs and the City will end up with a financial burden for a long time. While you may be able to find loopholes that allow the City to bypass the bid process and to use public money for the benefit of a YMCA, how can the City possibly enter a negotiation to run this facility without understanding the financial impact to the YMCA and the City?
Just in case you have not done this calculation, which if you have, it has never been disclosed to the public, let me enlighten you. Without having to pay a mortgage or taxes, and with my clubs out of the picture, the YMCA will generate some $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 in profit every year. If you doubt my numbers, I would encourage the City to sit down with my CPA, or any experienced accountant other than the YMCA, to verify these numbers. This is very important as it is your fiduciary responsibility to not waste public money.
To enter a 40-year agreement with no payback to the City, particularly when it is very likely the Y will make huge profits that will leave our community would be irresponsible and possibly grossly negligent. Additionally, while the City is seeing annual expenses rise much faster than revenues, using public money to put a private tax-paying company out of business will further hurt City Revenues, not to mention some 200 people will lose their jobs, in-door tennis will be lost in Sammamish and I as a businessman will lose my investment.
Please remember that it has not been the YMCA’s idea to build 65,000 square feet facility. It’s been the City Manager’s idea to do so. The YMCA would be happy to build 40,000 square feet facility, which could save the City approximately $10,000,000 and could allow private tax-paying companies to remain in business. The City could then build a true Community Center and the Y could build their own 40,000 SF facility with their own money on their own property.
I hope my words have not fallen on deaf ears. If you care about saving taxpayers money, if you really believe in no new taxes and if working with, not against, local businesses is important, then I encourage you to look at more than one alternative for the community center. Thank you.
H. Cyrus Oskoui I Founder
Columbia Athletic Clubs – Corporate Office
11400 98th AVE NE Suite 300
Kirkland, WA 98033
We Inspire Healthier Lives!
p: 425.814.5300 ext. 220